Future in the Past

Future in the Past




Like Simple Future, Future in the Past has two different forms in English, "Would" and "Was Going to." Although the two forms can sometimes be used interchangeably, they often express two very different meanings.




FORM Would

[WOULD] + [verb]

EXAMPLES:

I said I would help him later.

I said I would never help him.

NOTE: When you are using a verb tense with more than one part such as Future in the Past (would help), adverbs usually come between the first part and the second part (would never help).





FORM Was Going To

[WAS / WERE] + [GOING TO] + [verb]

EXAMPLES:

I knew John was going to meet Jane after the party.

I knew John was secretly going to meet Jane after the party.

NOTE: When you are using a verb tense with more than one part such as Future in the Past (was going to meet), adverbs often come between the first part and the second part (was secretly going to meet).





USE 1 Future in Past     The blue X represents the Future in the Past.

Future in the Past, follows the same basic rules as the Simple Future. "Would" follows the same basic rules as "Will," and "Was Going to" follows the same rules as "Be Going to." Future in the Past is used to express the idea that in the past you thought something would happen in the future. It does not matter if you are correct or not.

EXAMPLES:

I told you he was going to come to the party.

I knew Julie would make dinner.

Jane said Sam would bring his sister with him, but he came alone.

I had a feeling that the vacation was going to be a disaster.

He promised he would send a postcard from Egypt.





IMPORTANT No Future in Time Clauses

Like all future forms, Future in the Past cannot be used in clauses beginning with "when," "while," "before," "after," "by the time," "as soon as," "if" and "unless." In this lesson, all verbs in Time Clauses are italicized.

EXAMPLES:

I already told Mark that when he arrived, we would go out for dinner. Correct

I already told Mark that when he would arrive, we would go out for dinner. Not Correct





ACTIVE / PASSIVE Future in the Past

EXAMPLES:

I knew John would certainly finish the work by 5:00 PM. ACTIVE
I knew the work would certainly be finished by 5:00 PM. PASSIVE

I thought Sally was going to make a beautiful dinner tonight. ACTIVE
I thought a beautiful dinner was going to be made by Sally tonight. PASSIVE

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